"Hey darling, how are you feeling today?" The duchess asked me as she opened the drapes in my room to let in the early morning sunlight.
I spun on the bed from one end to the other, squinting my eyes to let light into them gradually while groaning "Mum"
"You need to get up Aris. The prince is visiting Rythfork today"
"I dont care at all about him or his stupid visit. I just want to sleep in today"
"You know you can't" she moved over to the bed and pulled the quilt away from me causing me to grumble and cry out more.
"Mother, I said I don't care if he visits or not, besides his bride will be by his side so why should I care?"
"Because we are his host and he is our guest. Now get up!"
"Ohhhhh!...... mother please, can you just say I'm sick?"
"Of course you know I cant tell such a lie?"
We kept going back and forth arguing till she succeeded in pulling me out of bed.
I came back from my vacations few days ago. I had the intentions of staying longer but decided to return few days after Adrian returned back because of boredom. Even though I had my books to keep me company, I still needed people and also my father decided to create an office for me to keep me busy.
Because I loved reading alot, he gave me the duty of equipping the Rythfork provincial library which was just renovated.
So basically, I returned mostly because of that and nothing else.
But I must confess, when I heard that the prince would be visiting his project site today, I was somehow glad but the joy was quickly replaced with sadness and anger.
Still could not believe that Troy would stay for three months without reaching out or checking on me. And now my mother wants me to prepare for him.
I remembered the last time he visited here, the times we spent together and all of that, that was like the brooding of our relationship but now, it's going to be different, I know. He's moved on and has Gemma by his side, but my stomach started churning at the rate my mind was processing the whole thing. I felt a rush of anxiety grip my stomach so tightly that it made me nauseous.
Fortunately for me, by the time I was through showering and dressing up, Adrain appeared.
"Oh, Thank God you're here?" I mumbled as he hugged me.
"Why are you this nervous?" He asked while his eyes roamed over my body. "You're beautiful"
"Thanks Rian" I replied and he smiled.
"Now tell me why you're so worked up?"
"Troy...." I whispered softly into his ears.
"Oh, please" he threw his hands in the air with a frown. "I've told you countless times, he doesnt deserve you, shove him away from your heart. Funny enough, He and Gemma has really been bonding well, Infact I've come to start believing that they are perfect for each other" He commented and immediately an ounce of jealously flowed through my body, those words 'perfect together' broke me into two but I tried to control my emotions.
"Have you had breakfast?" He asked me.
"Quickly let's go before they arrive" and he pulled me out of the room with him.
Apparently, Adrian was not in talking terms with Charles and Troy not that they were quarelling but they just kept avoiding each other.
According to him, he confronted Charles about the situation but he denied it and painted me more worst, so his actions got Adrian angry and they had some word banters and almost got physical before Adrian left after realising himself and not wanting to complicate things further.
Immediately after eating, we got the signal that they were close, I became more anxious upon hearing that and felt sick to my stomach.
Rushing into the toilet, I emptied my stomach contents into the WC not paying attention to the fact that my mother followed me.
"Oh dear, are you really that sick" she asked me pitifully.
I mumbled some words under my breath as I washed my mouth with water. She later helped me out of the toilet and into the room where I just curled myself up on the bed as she patted my hair lovingly.
"They're here, Your grace and the duke asked me to call you together with lady Aris" a servant mentioned loudly and my mother managed to get me out of bed, putting a mild makeup on my face, she led me out of the room.
The duke and some of his Earl's were already out front standing to welcome them as I and the duchess joined them.
The cars drove into the provincial capital and they alighted from it. Immediately I sighted him with Gemma, the smile that was all over my face disappeared and was replaced with anger and jealousy.
Oh she did not try to show her face here in Rythfork- my domain.
I could not even understand when I actually fell for him, it was still a struggle I was dealing with. I became uneasy and began fidgeting when Gemma decided to lace her arms with his, that was when Adrian caught in on my expression and walked over to me and whispered into my ears "Calm down babe. Take a deep breath"
Taking in deep breaths to calm my nervous self, he locked his fingers with mine squeezing tightly, by this time the prince and his entourage had strolled towards where we stood, and the duke and Earl's were welcoming him one after another, until he finally got to where I stood.
My heart beat raced more than ever as we stared at each other, none saying a word for over five minutes. No doubts, our action was begin to cause ruckus, as there was murmurings and side talks but we were oblivious to them all.
It was like our eyes were doing the talking, I kept swallowing hard and sucking in my breaths, tears gathering in my eyes as I thought about how much I've missed him and longed to see him.
Quickly, we were distracted by Gemma who had now gotten to where we stood and snuggled up on Troy. He closed his eyes gasping as she tried to whisk him away since they were done with the greetings.
"Lady Aris" he managed to say my name in a whisper and softly taking my hands in his and planting a kiss at the back if it. I caught on quickly on Gemma's countenance which was now turning sour, her face was filled with wrinkles as she kept eyeing me angrily.
Finally it was all over, I let out all of the breaths I was holding in, gasping with my hands over my mouth. I felt like crying and immediately rushed in again, this time followed by Adrian.
Getting to my room, I banged the door but Adrian's push on it didn't let it shut.
"C'mon Aris, you've got to be strong. What was that about? I thought you were over him?" He spewed angrily.
"No I'm not and I don't think I can ever" I cried from the bed where my face was buried into the sheets.
"But he's obviously moved on and you should too. I mean, Gemma is now the crowns choice and she's got their full support" he reminded me.
"I fucking know that Rian" I yelled angrily at him whilst he came over to the bed comforting me as his hands roamed my back slowly.
Seeing Troy all lovey dovey with Gemma, I couldnt stand it. Anger, jealousy, sadness all mixed up in me, I was vibrating. It was because of me - me ,he chose to sight his feed and fund project this year in Rythfork not Gemma. So why did he have to come with her ? Was it to ridicule me the more?
The more I pondered, the angrier I got. He was acting like a fucking coward. First, he refused to contact me or even cared to explain things to my parents.
Then again, had the effontery to show his face here with Gemma. I was far from better.
The duchess ensured they all settled in comfortably. Apparently while the others which included Gemma, stayed at exterior part of the castle, Troy stayed alone in the Royal suite which was housed in the main building.
For a moment, I thought they were going to be staying together but was somehow happy when I was told he requested to stay alone.
Perfect! Aris, now you need a plan.
Adrian's presence was even making it more difficult for me to think as he was always in my space.
Luckily the motherfucker Charles knew better than not to show his face here, otherwise he would have regretted it.
The 'feed and fund' project had kick started and it's already been three days since their arrival. Gemma was always in the company of her friend Cleo who also came with her and I watched Cleo all the while seeking for Adrian's attention beyond the usual but all I wanted was the perfect opportunity to confront Troy.
The next day, my parents had prepared a feast to host the prince and his fiance. Preparations were ongoing and I felt I needed to talk to my parents because all of these exhibitions and hospitality were unnecessary for someone who treated their daughter badly. I hated the pretense.
"Aris, why have you called us here when there are lots of preparations to do for the feast?" The duchess asked me.
"Exactly the reason, mother"
"What? The feast is the reason you called us?"
"Yes. Why are you people doing all of this? He doesnt deserve such reception"
"Shut up your miuth" my mother hushed me. "Stop! Dont say a word again... The prince is the future king of this country and deserves the same respect, the king gets"
"Even after what he did to me?"
"He did nothing to you my dear!" The dukes voice filtered through. "Remember he was absent when everything happened"
"The more reason why he should have looked for me...... and -" I protested angrily breaking down in tears unable to complete my statement
"The king wouldn't want that" My mother spoke sighing tired while I just gaped at her.
"So you're...... telling me there was an order for him not to look for me and-"
"Exactly but not so direct" She cut through my statement again. "Listen my darling, it would have been a taboo if he did come for you when lady Gemma was already there?"
"Mother, can you listen to yourself. Why are you people even defending him?" I cried out irritably. My parents were literally choosing him over me.
"We are not defending him because he did nothing wrong and this is called loyalty to the crown...... One more thing Aris, please avoid the prince"
The duke spoke rather coldly and walked out while I stared at his back in disbelief, turning back to the duchess who was looking at me with pleading eyes, I shook my head in disappointment.
It became obvious my parents would choose the crown over me any day, any time.
"Aris, please......." my mother tried to pacify me and was holding onto my arms when I angrily withdrew my hands from her grip breathing heavily and left her presence.
What stupid feast. Heaven knows I was not attending any stupid feast tonight.
I just woke up from a very long nap and checked the time, it was already evening almost the time for the feast.
Noises and sounds of music and dancing could be heard from outside. I peeped through my window and saw different sets of people in different beautiful regalia.
I couldn't help but blush as I admired them. It was a sight to behold. My parents were the perfect host.
There was a knock on the door that brought my attention back to the room.
"My lady" Ida bowed holding out a very long beautiful dress in her hand to me.
"What is that?"
"Lord Adrian asked me to bring it to you"
"Why?" I questioned and took the dress from her.
"Said he wants you to wear it for the feast tonight"
I huffed and mumbled inaudibly "That's if I will attend" and dismissed Ida.
Moments later, I was dressed in the long red beautiful satin dress, exposing a bit of my cleavage and maximizing my body's figure. I wore a very heavy and pretty makeup with my hair arranged in a chignon.
Stepping out of my room, I decided to stroll down the hallway towards the wing that housed the royal suite.
I wanted a peep at the prince since I'd not seen him after the day he arrived. I was missing him like crazy, though I was scared of my current action but I just wished I could confront him and explain myself to him. He needed to hear my own side of the story.
To my shock, his door was slightly opened when I got there, and I took advantage of it to peep through. He was dressed in a tuxedo. His hands were arranging his cuffs when an adrenaline rush pushed me to tap on the door gently.
He quickly spun his head to the doors direction calling out "Theon" but there was no response. Just when he was about taking steps towards the door, I courageously entered the room. I could literally hear my heart beats as he was stared at me in shock.
His eyes widened with his lips slightly parted. Then he moved his eyes, roaming them over my body, he slowly licked his lower lips.
There was no doubt, I was captivated by his charms and handsome nature as our eyes locked on each other for minutes, erupting desires and needs from within.
He took slower steps toward me not breaking the contact and when we were much closer, he spoke. "What are you doing here....princess?"
The fire within my soul ignited the moment he called me princess dispelling every ounce of anger, replacing it with heat.
"I missed you"
"You .....broke me" he whispered and I swallowed hard. Seeing through him now for the very first time in a long while, he felt vulnerable and broken.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you but I didnt do it". Tears were gathering in my eyes. This was not the way I planned on confronting him. I wanted to shout angrily probably create a scene for his cowardliness.
"What are you talking about? You admitted to the court, remember and there were evidences all over" He stated, confusion plastered on his face.
I closed my eyes snugly, letting the tears fall to my cheeks and next, I felt a hand shaking me and calling my name.
"Aris! Baby! Wake up" my eyes opened abruptly and my gaze fell on Adrian.
"What" I whispered
"You're shedding tears" he said and that was when I realized it was all a dream.